For the longest time, high cholesterol has been thought to be the cause for heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Although that’s not entirely true, recent studies show that elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood increases the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
The first step to reducing high triglycerides in the blood is to get a lipid profile test done. Next, start making sustainable and suitable lifestyle changes. Here are some foods that cause this complication:
- Simple sugars – They are found in foods that have added sugars, sweeteners, or simple sugars like fructose. A study showed that an average American consumed 19 teaspoons of sugar a day, while only 6 to 9 spoons are suggested.
- Saturates and trans fat – Trans fats are found in packaged foods such as cookies, cakes, microwavable popcorn, chips etc. They are also found in fried foods. Foods like egg yolk, chicken skin, red meat, and high-fat dairy, etc also contain trans fat.
- Starch and refined grains – High starch foods include vegetables like potatoes and corn. Refined or processed grains contain added sugar and are commonly made of wheat flour. It is best to avoid bread, pasta, pizzas, pies, cakes etc.
- High-calorie foods – Excessive calorie intake contributes to high triglycerides. One should always keep a track of calorie intake.
How to bring down high triglycerides naturally?
Weight loss and Diet: Go for natural supplements that include:
- Antioxidants: Foods rich in antioxidants like cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, kale, beets, and spinach are low on calories.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Including foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acid reduces triglycerides, especially in patients suffering from heart diseases. Flax seeds, salmon, walnuts, sardines, mackerel, canola oil, soy are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Fiber: People with high triglycerides often have low dietary fiber in their diet. The recommended amount of fiber intake is about 30 gms per day, whereas an average American consumes only about 10 gms per day. Fruits such as apple, pears, oranges, bananas, and dark colored vegetables like carrot, beets, and broccoli are rich in fiber.
- Low-carb diet: Studies have shown a significant drop in triglyceride levels with low-carb diet compared to a low-fat diet.
Exercise: A good aerobic exercise has shown an increase in HDL cholesterol levels, which in turn lowers the triglycerides in the blood. Aerobic exercise could be swimming, walking, cycling, running, or jogging. While the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise for 5 days a week, one study says that shorter and higher intensity regimes showed better results.
Lower alcohol intake: Sugars and calories are high in alcohol. If they are not converted into energy, they will be converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells. Even if triglyceride levels are normal to begin with, studies show that light to moderate consumption of alcohol increases the triglyceride levels by 53%, and binge drinking can raise the risk rapidly.
In most cases, sustainable lifestyle changes will help in getting the triglyceride levels within the healthy range. In some cases when there is a genetic reason involved, medication might be required to lower the triglyceride levels.